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Whether you need a panel for gaming or video editing, you're going to want one of the best computer monitors. A good panel should provide you with more than just a clear picture, and our top picks do just that.
Some things to pay attention to besides the size of the monitor are resolution and refresh rate. These factors are certainly important when it comes to gaming performance, but photo or video professionals will need a monitor that touts hyper-accurate color profiles and brightness.
60Hz maximum refresh rate
Choosing the “best” monitor can very much depend on your needs, but the LG 27UK850-W checks all the boxes for a top-of-the-line multipurpose display. With its 4K Ultra HD resolution (3840 x 2160 pixels), you’ll enjoy dazzling picture quality across a 27-inch screen with sleek, functional design.
The LG 27UK850’s in-plane switching (IPS) panel allows for 178-degree viewing angles and accurate, vibrant colors. It also supports high dynamic range (HDR) technology, and though it may not hit the peak brightness and color range some HDR-mode enthusiasts look for, the monitor delivers an excellent experience for both media watching and professional photo or video editing.
Those looking to the LG 27UK850 for gaming needs won’t be disappointed, either. Even without exceeding a 60-hertz refresh rate like speedier gaming monitors do, support for variable refresh rate through AMD’s FreeSync eliminates screen tearing while Dynamic Action Sync reduces input lag.
Our testing revealed a couple of features that the similar 27UK650 model doesn’t: built-in speakers and a USB-C port. The USB-C input gives it extra versatility for connecting to and charging today’s laptops and other devices. Added all up, you’ll get the premium features and performance you pay for with the LG 27UK850.
"Even without HDR, the regular SDR contrast and color range on this monitor is still excellent." — Bill Loguidice, Product Tester
Slim bezels for an expanded viewing experience
All kinds of adjustment/mounting options supported
No USB Type-C port
Bursting at the seams with goodness, Dell's P2719H is certainly among the best computer monitors you can buy today. It sports a 27-inch Full-HD panel with a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels and a 16:9 aspect ratio. Thanks to its IPS (In-Plane Switching) technology, the display reproduces consistent and accurate colors across all viewing angles. Furthermore, it's bordered on three sides by ultra-thin bezels, which not only reduce the overall physical footprint but also allow for an interrupted view of visual content when using multi-monitor setups.
The P2719H features pivot, tilt, swivel and height adjustment, and is also compatible with numerous stands and mounts (including VESA). As far as connectivity options are concerned, the monitor comes with an HDMI port, a VGA port, a DisplayPort, and five USB (four downstream and one upstream) ports. Other notable additions include an improved stand design for better cable management and a "ComfortView" feature that reduces blue light emissions to maximize eye comfort.
Check out the best monitors for MacBook Pros you can buy.
Solid refresh rate
No VESA mount
If you’re shopping on a limited monitor budget, the Acer SB220Q bi can help you squeeze the most pixel power out of each dollar. Given its low price tag, a surprising collection of features are packed into this quarter-inch-thin, nearly bezel-free frame. The 21.5-inch screen isn’t the biggest around, but its full High-Definition 1080p IPS panel provides better viewing angles and overall picture quality than the TN panels typical of this price range.
This versatile monitor throws in extra features for gamers as well. Its 75-hertz refresh rate is a slight bump up from the standard 60-hertz rate, and support for AMD FreeSync can dynamically create a smoother gaming experience when paired with compatible graphics cards. Its 4ms response time isn’t as fast as what modern TN panels can achieve, but our tests showed that it's still great for most cases.
The design of the Acer SB220Q bi, while sleek and solid enough, doesn’t offer much in the way of adjustability beyond a limited range of tilt. It also lacks USB inputs, with only one HDMI and one VGA port. Minor concessions like these keep it affordable, though, and still offers quite a few extra features for the price.
"While not quite zero, the bezel is probably only as thick as a few sheets of paper. It makes for a good-looking screen when in use, creating a near edge-to-edge display." — Zach Sweat, Product Tester
Great image quality
Really needs a top-notch graphics card to take full advantage
If you have a killer gaming setup and need a powerful gaming monitor to match, it doesn’t get much better than the ASUS ROG Swift PG27UQ. As a premium 27-inch 4K IPS monitor in the Asus “Republic of Gamers” (ROG) hardware line, it brings all the latest display technologies together in one impressive package.
Combining HDR support with 384 individual zones of LED backlight, you’ll get stunning contrast between darks and lights, with brightness peaking at 1000 cd/m2 (or “nits”). It also supports the cinema-standard DCI-P3 color gamut, wider than the standard sRGB range, producing rich and accurate colors for media work as well as gaming.
Gamers will want speed along with their image quality, of course, and the ROG Swift PG27UQ can hit a 144-hertz refresh rate with a 4ms response time. Gameplay gets even smoother for those with compatible Nvidia graphics cards, thanks to the monitor’s G-Sync support. It also helps keep gamers’ eyes comfortable during long sessions with flicker reduction and low blue light technology. As a bonus, the machine shoots a red-light projection onto your wall or desktop—either the ROG logo or a custom design to suit your style.
High refresh rate
Low resolution (for the price)
Alienware's gaming products are (and have always been) renowned for their top-notch quality, and the AW2720HF is no different. Boasting a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels and a 16:9 aspect ratio, its 27-inch Full-HD panel covers up to 99 percent of sRGB color space and uses IPS (In-Plane Switching) technology. The display also comes with a 240Hz refresh rate and a 1ms response time, giving you an ultra-smooth and responsive gaming experience. Not just that, it supports both AMD FreeSync and NVIDIA G-Sync, so you don't have to worry about screen tearing issues.
The Alienware AW2720HF looks every part the gaming monitor with a gorgeous white chassis. The back panel features hexagon-shaped buttons (for tweaking display settings) at the bottom corner and an illuminated alien logo at the diagonally-opposite top corner. Then there's the stand, with a vertical illuminated ring further accentuating its design. Connectivity options include HDMI, USB (four downstream and one upstream), 3.5mm audio (one headphone-out and one line-out), and DisplayPort.
Here are some of the best 1080p gaming monitors worth checking out.
Allows for versatile screen splitting
144Hz refresh rate
1080p resolution only
There are ultra-wide monitors — and then there’s the Samsung CHG90. The standard widescreen aspect ratio is 16:9, while the typical ultra-wide monitor might have a 34-inch screen with a 21:9 aspect ratio. Samsung’s “super ultrawide” measures 49 inches with an aspect ratio of 32:9. That’s like two 27-inch 16:9 monitors put together!
The screen has a tight 1800R curve that helps you see the edges of its vast real estate in your peripheral vision. It’s not the sharpest display available, though, with only 1080p vertical resolution and an 81.4 pixels-per-inch pixel density. It does, however, sport a QLED vertical alignment (VA) panel with local dimming. When combined with HDR mode, the monitor produces vivid colors and excellent picture quality.
The Samsung CHG90 also markets itself as gaming monitor, and its 144-hertz refresh rate and 1ms response time will certainly serve gamers well. It also features AMD’s FreeSync 2, the latest version of AMD’s variable refresh rate technology, which is designed to pair nicely with HDR. The monitor’s performance, size, and other extra gamer-centric features come together to provide a one-of-a-kind immersive gaming experience, provided you have the budget and desktop space to make it work.
Built-in blue light filter
Wide aspect ratio not the best for productivity tasks
If you want a feature-packed computer monitor for your office workspace, look no further than HP's EliteDisplay E243. The frame and stand both sport a modern and elegant design with a silver finish. However, there's more to the EliteDisplay E243 than just good looks. The monitor comes with a 23.5-inch Full-HD panel, having a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels and a 16:9 aspect ratio. Based on IPS (In-Plane Switching) technology, the display reproduces accurate colors across all viewing angles. It's also bordered by a three-sided micro-edge bezel that provides a seamless viewing experience when using multi-monitor setups.
With support for tilt, height, swivel and pivot adjustment, you can set up the monitor exactly as you want. Talking about connectivity options, you get HDMI, VGA, USB (two downstream and one upstream), and DisplayPort. The monitor comes bundled with all the necessary input cables in the box and is backed by a three-year warranty.
Read more about some of the best monitors for programming and coding worth buying.
Articulating stand for easy touchscreen usage
Well-designed cable management system
No active stylus support
Touch-enabled displays offer a naturally-intuitive way of interacting with on-screen elements, and Dell's P2418HT is the ideal solution if you're looking to add that functionality to your desktop PC. Its 23.8-inch Full-HD panel has a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels and a 16:9 aspect ratio and uses IPS (In-Plane Switching) technology to deliver consistent colors at all viewing angles. The display features ten-point multi-touch support for a responsive experience and works great with gestures (e.g. pinch, swipe) as well.
The P2418HT comes with a unique articulating stand that effortlessly transitions its standard desktop position to a 60-degree angled orientation, thus allowing you to use the touch-enabled panel much more conveniently. The stand also supports tilt, swivel, and height adjustment. In terms of connectivity, you get an HDMI port, a VGA port, five USB (four downstream and one upstream) ports, and a DisplayPort. Other features worth mentioning include an anti-glare coating on the display and a "ComfortView" feature that cuts out blue light emissions to improve eye comfort.
Check out the best 4K monitors in the market.
Unless you need your monitor to push more than 60 FPS, the LG 27UK850-W is easily the most well-rounded monitor in terms of features and specs. However, if money is no object and you require reference-quality color, the BenQ Ultra HD 4K Design Monitor is the way to go.
Our expert reviewers and editors evaluate PC monitors based on design, display quality, panel composition, color accuracy, and features. We test their real-life performance in actual use cases, displaying videos or gaming, as well as in more niche scenarios like video editing/rendering. Our testers also consider each unit as a value proposition—whether or not a product justifies its price tag, and how it compares to competitive products. All of the models we reviewed were purchased by Lifewire; none of the review units were furnished by the manufacturer or retailer.
Bill Loguidice has more than 20 years' experience writing for a variety of major technology publications including TechRadar, PC Gamer, and Ars Technica. He's passionate about all forms of technology and how they continue to impact and enrich our lives every day.
Zach Sweat is an experienced editor, writer and photographer based in New York City. He is passionate about using written language to make people think, discover or learn new things, find stuff they enjoy and make connections with each other.
Rajat Sharma has been in the field of technology journalism for more than six years now, and has reviewed dozens of computer monitors (among other gadgets) so far. Before joining Lifewire, he was associated with The Times Group and Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited, two of India’s biggest media houses.
Refresh rate - The refresh rate of a monitor refers to how many times per second the screen can update with new image data. This is most important for playing games, and you’ll want to look for a monitor with a refresh rate of at least 144Hz if you’re really serious. Most gamers will be satisfied with a refresh rate of 75Hz or more, but if you don’t use your computer for gaming, you can opt for lower.
Display type - Monitor display types can be hard to understand because there are several different types of LED displays. IPS monitors have great color reproduction and viewing angles, so they’re good for watching video content, any work that requires accurate colors, and most general use scenarios. TN monitors have worse viewing angles, but fast refresh rates make them perfectly suited for gaming.
Resolution - Resolution refers to the number of pixels that the monitor can display, which impacts the sharpness and clarity of the image. The lowest resolution you should settle for is 1920 x 1080, which is referred to as full HD. If you want to take it to the next level—and your video card can handle it—go for a 4K monitor with a 3840 x 2160 resolution.